British Airways Promo: Top Customers Can Earn Award Booking Without Capacity Controls

British Airways has a new offer that will benefit very few of its members, but is a baby step towards an interesting idea. UK-based members who book top fare premium cabin trips during the low winter months get rewarded with the ability to book an award trip without capacity controls.

  • Fly 4 roundtrips in business or first class
  • Industry discount fares and senior discounts excluded, and flights to Amman, Beirut, Moscow, and Tel Aviv excluded.
  • Book and fly between October 31 and and February 12

The reward is the ability to book up to 5 passengers on a single redemption without capacity controls, though limits remain in force for several high demand dates: 27-29 March; 3-5 April; 22-23 May; 17-19 July; 23-25 July , Inbound 17-19 Apr; 30-31 May; 28-31 Aug.

This special redemption has to be made between February 28 and April 30 although travel can be through October 31, 2020.

Now, premium cabin tickets already booked are excluded. There’s just a four month window to book four premium cabin roundtrips on BA. And these have to be Club World roundtrips, intra-Europe doesn’t count. And the promotion is being run in low season for transatlantic travel.

What’s more U.K.-based customers booking this level of premium cabin travel likely have British Airways Gold Guest List status and thus already earn ‘jokers’ to allow booking awards without respect to capacity controls. For them it’s earning an extra time-limited joker.

Nonetheless it points to an interesting observation: customers at a certain value (in this case buying the most expensive fares when other customers tend not to be doing so) should be able to use their miles any time they wish without penalty. And it’s worth letting them do so even if the flight they might book onto would otherwise be full.

The opportunity cost of the redemption isn’t really a full fare booking, it’s the lowest-priced booking in the cabin – an award, an upgrade, an employee, or a sale fare discounted via credit card and senior citizen promotion. And it’s worth that sacrifice (perhaps just pushing that lowest-fare business class customer onto another flight) for someone who is buying so many premium cabin tickets.

Air Canada by the way used to allow their Super Elites to book awards into premium cabins without capacity controls. They’ve since limited that benefit, but it’s hardly a revolutionary idea.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Concorde Room access is now available (at London Heathrow and New York JFK) to Gold Guest List Members, not just international first class passengers and Concorde Room cardholders. Gold Guest List requires an additional 5,000 elite Tier Points on top of Gold status during their member year and 3,000 Tier Points in subsequent years to keep the status. The status includes receiving capacity control-busting ‘jokers’. […]


  1. US airlines have had that for a long time, double miles to book without constraints , and none of these stupid games

    But now it’s a bit more than double.

  2. Be VERY careful with British Airways. On some flights you pay for First Class seats, expecting their First Class would be somewhat consistent with First Class seats on U.S. airlines, but it is NOT.

    When I boarded my flight from London to Stockholm I was shocked to see about 7 rows of “Coach Seats” but in the section they called First-Class. The only difference was the center seat was blocked and had a tray between the seats.

    On my return from Copenhagen to London, same thing but interestingly near the end of boarding the Flight Attendant “expanded” First-Class by moving the curtain partition back two rows to add 8 more First-Class seats! She, of course, also put the middle seats tray down like the others.

    Being part of One World, you would think there would be standards among the airlines so Customers are not fooled by what one airline calls First-Class verses another.

    I requested a response form British Airlines and didn’t get one. Obviously I cannot expect any Mileage reimbursement!

    Just BEWARE!

  3. What you are describing Bob, is Club Europe, a business class product. BA never call that first class.

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